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Trial begins for former Goldman Sachs banker accused of 1MDB scandal

A trial was conducted Monday in New York federal court against a former Goldman Sachs employee who has been charged in connection with the multibillion-dollar 1MDB scandal.

Roger Ng, a former Goldman Sachs executive, was arrested in Malaysia in 2018 at the request of US authorities and charge with a plot to bribe officials and launder billions of dollars from Malaysian state investment funds. He was later sent back to the US to face charges.

Ng, 49 years old, yes plead not guilty. If convicted, he faces 30 years in prison.

Prosecutors on Monday said Tim Leissner, a former Goldman banker, pleaded guilty guilty on charges of conspiracy to launder money and violations of foreign bribery laws in connection with the 1MDB scandal – is expected to take a stance. Leissner has a cooperation agreement with the government in the hope of receiving a more lenient sentence.

The trial, which has been delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, has drawn attention again to a global scandal that has stretched from Malaysia to Switzerland and the US, with US officials labeling it a “sorry”. worst democracy”.

The Justice Department alleges a total of $4.5 billion was misappropriated from 1MDB, an investment fund set up by the Malaysian government in 2009 to promote the Southeast Asian country’s development through partnerships. and foreign direct investment.

Prosecutors say the money robbed from the fund was used to purchase a 22-carat pink diamond, luxury properties and to finance the Oscar-nominated film. The Wolf of Wall StreetAmong other things.

For Goldman, the trial was a reminder of one of the biggest scandals in the Wall Street bank’s 153-year history.

Besides Ng, the 1MDB case mainly involved two other former Goldman investment bankers: Tim Leissner, who pleaded guilty guilty on charges of conspiracy to launder money and violations of foreign bribery laws; and Andrea Vella, a former partner at the bank the Federal Reserve banned from working in the US banking sector.

Goldman earned $600 million in fees for its work with 1MDB in three bond issues in 2012 and 2013, raising about $6.5 billion. In it, the DoJ alleges that more than $2.7 billion was misappropriated by Jho Low, a Malaysian financier accused of masterminding the scam, Ng and others. Low, who has been accused by countries including the US, remains at large and denies wrongdoing.

Marc Agnifilo, Ng’s New York-based attorney, told the Financial Times in a statement: “Roger Ng gave up extradition to voluntarily come to this country because he is innocent. After more than 1,000 days here, he looks forward to his trial and returns home to his wife and young daughter. ”

Ng was also charged in Malaysia with bribing local officials to secure participation in the 2012 and 2013 bond arrangements for 1MDB. He has pleaded not guilty.

The scandal had a direct impact on Goldman’s most senior ranks.

Its board of directors called the bank’s involvement in the 1MDB scheme the result of “institutional failures”. Goldman has moved to get back up to $175 million in salaries and bonuses from current and former executives, including David Solomon, the bank’s current chief executive who was co-head of investment banking. of Goldman at the time of the bond issue, and its predecessor, Lloyd Blankfein.

Solomon also has pay for 2020 increased by $10 million to $17.5 million due to the 1MDB scandal.

Goldman, which said it was deceived by “several members of the former Malaysian government and 1MDB”, ended up paying a record $2.9 billion in one global settlement. Subsidiary in Malaysia insist crime of bribery. The bank also hit a settled amounted to $ 3.9 billion with Malaysia due to the damage that this Southeast Asian country suffered after the scandal.

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